(Editor’s Note: An occasional post from this blog may also be posted in the blog section of The Ontario Argus Observer’s web pages. Tell your friends who live in Ontario they may see it there. To check it out at that web site, follow the Argus-Observer link at the lower right to the latest issue of that daily paper serving Malheur County and western Idaho.)
By Don Lynch
From the May 3, 1954 issue of The Argus Observer
Nephi Grigg used less than his usual glowing salesmanship recently when he gave the chamber of commerce a report on the state of Ontario’s frozen food industry.
He spoke only briefly of the significance of the new Ore-Ida potato patties --- partly, I think, from modesty; and partly because it was hard to tell the story in terms that could be understood by his listeners.
He was handicapped for time. He had only a few minutes to talk in the 30 minute program because he also showed a field. It was an industrial movie about the Oregon Frozen Food Company and the farming that produces the crops it processes.
It is an excellent movie of its kind --- interesting enough to earn a spot on the program of any organization in the valley.
Grigg did tell his listeners that the potato patties are selling well all across the nation; and he said that they showed promise of rivaling frozen peas (top selling frozen food) in sales.
Then he moved on to other topics about the industry before his audience had really caught the significance of the sales strength of potato patties.
The patties were introduced to the nation’s markets in January and here are some of the reactions that have already occurred:
Don Pinnix, a Southern California representative for the patties, told the Ontario industry within a few weeks after he introduced them into 178 super markets that they were “one of the fastest moving frozen food items introduced into the market in years.”
Food editors of the Milwaukee Sentinel and the San Francisco Chronicle have made the Ore-Ida patties the subject of glowing feature stories at the top of their food pages.
The patties are being featured in full page food store advertising all over the nation. In a typical example, shown in art work at the top of a page ad, the patties are combined with frozen fish as a new idea for Lenten meals.
One additional factor of considerable importance: The Oregon Frozen Food method of processing the potato patty is patented. No other firm can make the patty with the danger of a suit over patent rights….
Ontario’s food processing industry has (already) made corn the fastest increasing crop in amount produced here. There is now half as much acreage in corn as in sugar beets and the complement each other ideally for rotation.
All this information makes it easy to image that this valley may become like the Santa Clara, Willamette and Yakima valleys --- a great food processing agricultural economy, if it can just weather a difficult period of growing pains.